The North’s Minister for Regional Development says yesterday’s discovery of a suspected illegal slaughter house and meat cutting plant ‘doesn’t come as a complete shock to locals’. Three properties – two in Forkill – were searched in the multi-agency operation, involving the PSNI, the Department of Agriculture, the Food Standards Agency and council officials.
The FSA says meat was produced at the site in the Newry and Mourne area without official hygiene checks. Local MLA in the area, Minister Danny Kennedy, says the discovery is concerning, but doesn’t come as a complete shock.
Maria Jennings, Director of the Food Standards Agency in Northern Ireland said. “The FSA is working closely with the PSNI and all relevant authorities, including DARD and the district Council on this investigation – in order to stop further production at this plant and to protect the safety of the food chain.
The information we have tells us that meat was being produced illegally, without official hygiene checks. “We are currently investigating which businesses have been supplied with meat from the plant and we will provide further information once we have it.” Chief Inspector Davy Beck, Area Commander for Newry & Mourne confirmed that the investigation is at an early stage however he confirmed that the aim was to address agricultural crime and work with partner organisations to protect the safety of the food chain. Police inquiries into this matter are continuing with partner agencies. Anyone with information is asked to contact police in Newry on 0845 600 8000. Audiofile.